When one attempts to describe Alastair Borthwick, many words come to mind. Along with being an author, outdoor adventure enthusiast, broadcaster, and combat veteran, he was also at his essence a simple man. While loving a good adventure, he was also quite content to live a simple and quiet life with his wife Anne, which he did for many years later on in his life. However, along the way, Alastair Borthwick left a legacy that many today still consider to be unmatched by even the most modern Renaissance man of the 21st-century.
Born in 1913 in Rutherglen, Scotland, it did not take Alastair Borthwick long to realize his desire to seek out and tell amazing stories of Scotland and the rest of the world did not mesh well with attending school on a daily basis. Thus, at age 16, he dropped out and started working for such newspapers as the Evening Times and Glasgow Herald. Moving quickly from copywriter to editor and features writer, he developed a style that always left readers wanting more.
While at the Herald, Alastair Borthwick found his passion for hiking and outdoor adventure. Fascinated by locals who hiked and climbed nearby mountains, he joined in and became friends with fellow outdoor enthusiasts, setting the stage for his groundbreaking book Always A Little Further. Published in 1939, the book was actually a compilation of articles written by Borthwick while at the Glasgow Herald, and he received assistance from noted poet T.S. Eliot in making the book a reality.
As he became known for Always A Little Further, Alastair Borthwick chose to serve his country and fight in World War II. Enlisting as an infantry soldier, he eventually became a captain in military intelligence. In this role, he found himself traveling throughout North Africa and Europe, encountering many battles along the way. With his reputation as an excellent writer and storyteller already established, he was asked to write an account of what he had witnessed during his combat experiences. Thus came his next book Battalion, which was described by many literary critics as an outstanding book.
Following the war’s end, Alastair Borthwick returned to life with his wife Anne and settled into a quiet everyday life. However, at the same time he decided to try his hand at television and radio broadcasting. Like most things in his life, he excelled in this area of media, hosting radio talk shows, producing television documentaries, and much more. In fact, he so loved all aspects of broadcasting that it became a central part of his life, and one in which he worked until as late as 1995.
As he and Anne neared the late stages of their life together, they spent many years together on a small farm in Ayrshire. Yet even in the last few years of his life, Alastair Borthwick was determined to tell a story. Thus, he not only wrote a weekly column for the News Chronicle, but also completed a variety of scripts for potential television shows.
After passing away in 2003 at age 90, Alastair Borthwick and his legacy continue to live on today. Though looked at today as a legend in his own time, those who knew him best believe he was most happy when living a simple life and telling yet another story.